Adventure, community service and Spanish in Panama and Costa Rica.
Travel. Spanish immersion. Get involved with working on two sustainable projects while you work on issues to help solve ongoing problems. Have fun while on the zip lines in Boquete. Cooking with locals in Turrialba. Rafting in Costa Rica. Sailing. Hiking. Spanish classes. And so much more!
A popular vacation destination, Costa Rica is a known for its hiking, flora, fauna, and of course, it’s zip lining! Beaches! Waterfalls! And a laid back nature.
Not to be outdone, experience Boquete, Panama and it’s stunning scenery, hiking, rafting, coffee farms, and hot springs. Or Bocas, Panama and it’s Caribbean atmosphere!
Improve your Spanish this summer traveling between Costa Rica and Panama for 21 days. What could be better than taking Spanish language lessons both inside and outside the classroom paired with meaningful service work and fun cultural activities?
We will perform 24 community service hours between both countries along with taking 56 hours of Spanish courses. In Costa Rica, we will be working at a sea turtle conservation project and doing research on reducing plastic bag waste, which endanger the sea turtles. In Panama, we will do several projects including working at an elementary school and a senior center. All of our service projects involve directly working with locals, so you will be practicing your Spanish skills each day of the program!
SPANISH IMMERSION AND SERVICE HIGHLIGHTS
- Pre-Departure orientation, meet your group and group leader in the US before you depart for Costa Rica and Panama.
- Earn community service hours working with a sea turtle conservation program in Panama and perform a study on reducing plastic bag waste.
- Earn community service hours with locals in Turrialba, Costa Rica and work with the locals in elementary schools and senior centers.
- Learn and improve your Spanish with Spanish classes 4-5 times/week.
- Go sailing and dolphin watching.
- Visit hot springs, go snorkeling, biking, jungle tours, cooking classes, horse back riding and rafting.
GeoVisions students participate in two sustainable projects (one in Panama and one in Costa Rica) to pursue throughout the three weeks of the program.
Outside of your project meetings when you’re volunteering, a wide range of activities and excursions are available, allowing you to better know Panama and Costa Rica (as well as learning Spanish) and benefit from the knowledge and experience of your leadership team. The list of walking tours, dance classes, language classes and weekend trips seem to be never ending.
If you are the kind of person who wants to improve a second language (or learn one) and enjoys exchanging unique cultures with people from other countries and is driven to find a solution to a sustainable project to leave a positive impression on the people of Panama and Costa Rica … you’ve come to the right place. Our local teachers deliver fun and interactive classes, providing a unique way to learn Spanish and embrace these two cultures.
After this program, when you return to your home, you will have learned or improved your Spanish. You will have been able to discuss any number of subjects on sustainability, nature and culture in another language!
Along with all of that, you will have had 56 hours of Spanish language taught by native language instructors, experienced a great deal of Panama and Costa rica, and spent 24 community service hours in Panama and Costa Rica. In short, you will be uniquely ready and prepared for your next experiences upon returning home.
- Bring along 1 friend, 2 friends, or more! It’s a lot of fun traveling with friends. And meeting new ones on the program!
- 23 days
- $4,895 includes round trip airfare.
Included in this fee:
- Round trip airfare from Miami to Panama City and return from Costa Rica to Miami.
- Health and accident insurance for the entire program.
- 3 meals each day, unless otherwise noted.
- Accommodations throughout the program in tourist hotels and hostels.
- All local transport in Costa Rica and Panama.
- Airport transfers.
- All project, activity, and entrance fees.
- 14 days of Spanish lessons.
GoAbroad.com once wrote this about GeoVisions: “GeoVisions’ programs range from the traditional experiential programs abroad to some of the most unique and enticing programs listed on GoAbroad.com.” Our programs literally are the most unique you can find anywhere. The descriptions on this program page are based on our experiences in Central America for the last several years. Because things change all over the world, it is inevitable that some details described here will not happen exactly as presented. GeoVisions participants are encouraged from the beginning to use flexibility and patience when this happens. Much of how you respond to unforeseen changes will be how you are equipped to take advantage of surprise opportunities from these changes. During these times we need you to step up.
There is nothing more important on this program than your safety. That’s why we have a highly structured program, curfews and GeoVisions prohibits the use of alcohol, drugs and tobacco on this program. Not only do we expect you to behave in a mature way at all times, we expect you to be the ideal guest of the local people.
Language • Spanish is the official language of Panama and Costa Rica.
Cuisine • The typical Panamanian meal usually consists of meat, coconut rice and beans which are completed by local fruits and vegetables such as yucca, squash and plantains. Costa Rican food incorporates several staples of Latin American cuisine yet differentiates itself by being much healthier with the inclusion of an array of fresh fruits and vegetables. The quality of the following dishes when they are homemade is unbeatable, so try to get yourself invited over for lunch or dinner.
Currency • The currency in Costa Rica is the Costa Rican colón and the currency of Panama is the Balboa, but in practice, the currency used day-to-day in Panama is the US dollar.
Climate • Costa Rica itself has an average temperature of 70 F to 81 F. Due to its proximity to the equator, it has no real summer or winter. It does however have a rainy season from May to November. In Panama the Days are hot and nights are much cooler. Temperatures usually range from 90 degrees during the daytime to 70 degrees in the evening. These temperatures are found practically year-round.
Visa • No special visa is necessary to visit Costa Rica and Panama if you are an American citizen.
Day 1 (Saturday)
Arrive Miami. Orientation with the entire group and meet your group leader.
Day 2: (Sunday)
Departure day to Panama City. Depending upon our arrival time we might be able to visit Panama’s colonial old town of Casco. If we arrive late, we will go straight to Boquete by nightbus.
Travel to Boquete by overnight bus. The bus can be cold so be sure you have a light jacket handy. You will have time at the airport or in town to grab some snacks to eat on the bus before going to sleep.
Day 3: (Monday)
Rest or go explore the town by yourself. Spanish classes in the afternoon. Tonight we go out for dinner in town.
Day 4: (Tuesday)
Spanish classes are held this morning. This afternoon there will be a waterfall hike; hiking to two different waterfalls with the possibility to swim under the last one. We will take a break with fruit/snacks included. Be sure you bring along comfortable hiking shoes, a camera and your swim suit.
Day 5: (Wednesday)
Today begins with Tree Track, a ziplining course. Enjoy a breathtaking 3.5 kilometer journey taking you to 14 different platforms via 12 zip lines while flying through the jungle canopy. See waterfalls, the magnificent Volcan Baru and exotic birds. This afternoon you will have your Spanish classes. Today you want to make sure your camera is strapped to you safely. Bring a jacket or sweater and wear long pants.
Day 6: (Thursday)
A relaxing day! Start the day with Spanish classes and the afternoon is yours to rest or explore on your own.
Day 7: (Friday)
After morning classes, we will visit the Mini canyon and Hot Springs. These unique rock formations have a river crossing and you are allowed to jump into the water from the canyon. Some will enjoy swimming and others might want to climb the canyon’s walls. Also you can dip in the natural hot pools (up to 104°!) at the Caldera Hotsprings with also a beautiful adjacent river to refresh. Bring your camera, comfortable hiking shoes and a swimsuit.
Day 8: (Saturday)
Bus ride to Bocas. In the afternoon you will have free time to explore the city. Today only Breakfast and Dinner are included. We encourage you to buy snacks for the bus ride and to eat at lunch.
Day 9: (Sunday)
Your morning is free to sleep in. But get ready for an adventurous afternoon of Catamaran sailing, dolphin watching, and plenty of time for snorkeling above coral reefs and in the mangroves. We will be treated to a very nice lunch with fruit and drinks included. Local music and fun are also part of the deal! Swimsuit required!
Day 10: (Monday)
This morning it’s back to your Spanish lessons. This afternoon we will bike to Playa Bluff. With a beach bike we will cycle to the ocean to get to a stunning beach where you can eat or drink something, refresh and walk. Bring your swimsuit and camera.
Day 11: (Tuesday)
After your morning Spanish classes, we will spend the afternoon volunteering together. This afternoon you will be with the Sea Turtle Conservancy in Bocas del Toro. We are going to spend today and tomorrow working on a sustainable volunteer and research project promoting and investigating the “Zero Plastic Bags on the Island Campaign”.
Day 12: (Wednesday)
A repeat of Tuesday. Morning classes and finishing up the sustainable project with the sea turtles in Bocas del Toro.
Day 13: (Thursday)
After our morning Spanish classes, we will spend the afternoon in Cacao and taking a jungle tour. From the vibrantly colored pods to the fragrant fresh beans that are fermented, dried and roasted, you’ll be able to see up close the process of producing 100% pure chocolate. Afterwards you’ll go snorkeling around a wall full of coral and fish and a fruit table & music will be waiting for you to close the afternoon! You will need comfortable hiking shoes.
Day 14: (Friday)
Morning Spanish classes and the afternoon is free.
Day 15: (Saturday)
We will go by public transport to Turrialba. This trip will take 8 hours, so be sure you pack plenty of snacks! You can also buy food along the way.
Day 16: (Sunday)
This morning sleep in if you like to get over the 8 hour ride. This afternoon we will take a hike in Espino Blanco. We will spend the afternoon hiking on the trails of the Espino Blanco Biological Reserve with a local guide in mostly primary forest with the possibility to observe a large variety of forest species and animals such as snakes, turkeys, raccoons, armadillos, small paca as well as butterflies and birds. You will need good hiking shoes, a camera and sunscreen.
Day 17: (Monday)
Today begins with our language classes. This afternoon we will hike into town. From the school we will take about 40 minutes and enjoy the precious views of the forest, farmlands, town and volcano!
Day 18: (Tuesday)
This morning we will have our language classes. This afternoon will include horseback riding & visiting a waterfall. Your horses have a lot of experience with people who do not have much horse riding experience. Later, while the horses get a change to rest you can walk over rocks to the bottom of the waterfall where you can swim and you also have the possibility to climb to the top where there is a natural slide & pool to enjoy!
Day 19: (Wednesday)
Spanish classes in the morning and volunteering with community service hours in the afternoon. Volunteering at the elderly home and the local children’s shelter and primary school not only gives you a window on the local culture and social situation of Costa Rica but also provides an opportunity to interact in Spanish!
Day 20: (Thursday)
Today is a repeat of Wednesday except for the Latin dance class we will join tonight. We will learn the basic steps of salsa, merengue and bachata. This activity is always a lot of fun!
Day 21: (Friday)
We will go rafting and camping today. We will begin by launching the rafts and then stopping along the way to take a small hike on a tributary. Enjoy a river lunch, dinner and sleeping in tents located on platforms in the river camp in the middle of the jungle.
Day 22: (Saturday)
More rafting today! Enjoy breakfast and another day on the gorgeous and famous Pacuare River, finishing with a lunch in a restaurant in Siquires. We will end around 3:00 today when a bus will take us San Jose for the evening. Overnight is in a local hotel.
Day 23: (Sunday)
Our return flight back to Miami.
July 1 arrive in Miami. July 2 flight to Panama City. Return to Miami on Sunday, July 23
24 hours of community service and 56 hours of Spanish language courses.
In Miami, the group will have an orientation with the GeoVisions group leader. In Panama, orientation will be provided by our Central America staff. At the volunteer projects, orientation will be provided by the project.
All group activities are led in English.
Spanish lessons are provided in group sessions (max. 6 students per group) for a total of up to 60 hours of lessons. If private sessions are provided, this will be for a total of up to 30 hours or lessons.
15-17 years of age. You must be finishing grades 9,10,11, or 12.
Miami for departure. Arrive in Panama City, Panama. Travel to Boquete, Panama. Travel to Boras, Panama. Travel to Turrialba, Costa Rica.
Group flights from the US, round trip, included in the price of the program.
Your continued good health and safety during your time abroad is of critical importance to GeoVisions, and to the success of the program.
GeoVisions has arranged accident and health insurance services for the duration of your program. You will be sent details of the plan appropriate to you before departure. Please read the information about the plan carefully.
GeoVisions takes your health very seriously. We have specially trained staff on duty 24 hours a day, 7-days a week to assist you wherever you are.
Included in Panama and the return to the airport in San Jose, Costa Rica
All local transportation for scheduled program is included.
Accommodations are included. First night from Panama City to Boquete, participants will be taking a night bus. Participants will stay in local approved hostels, with the last night at the Gekui Rivercamp.
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are included each day. With the exception of travel days (Day 1 breakfast and dinner only. Day 7, breakfast and lunch only. Day 14, breakfast and inner only. Day 22, breakfast and lunch only. Day 23 meals are not included.)